Near Jim Thorpe in Carbon County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
A Revolution in Canal Technology
How a Lock Works
1. Upper valves are opened and water in lock is raised to level of upstream canal. Upper gate is lowered and boat enters lock. Upper gate is closed.
2. Valves in lower gates are opened, allowing water to empty from lock. The boat is lowered slowly as the water in the lock drops to level of downstream canal.
3. Lower gates are opened and boat proceeds on lower level of canal.
The 29 high lift locks of the Upper Grand Division of the Lehigh Canal performed like no other locks in the world. Designed by Edwin A. Douglas in the 1830s, the locks lifted and lowered wooden canal boats from 10 feet to as much as 30 feet.
The Lehigh Canal's co-founder and creative managerial genius, Josiah White, wrote in his journal, "One of our locks is 30 ft lift and fills or emptes [sic] in less than 3 minutes. On applying to Engineers to carry out this plan, they one and all objected...until I came to E.A. Douglas...& at once I employed him."
Along its 26 miles, the canal's locks compensated for a drop in elevation of 600 feet. Twenty dams
The Lehigh Canal between Mauch Chunk (present-day Jim Thorpe) and White Haven became known as the Upper Grand Section, and the canal from Mauch Chunk to Easton, the Lower Section.
In early June of 1862, 30 hours of heavy rainfall sent hundreds of thousands of cut logs into the river. Raging uncontrollably down stream, they battered and destroyed the locks and dams of the "Upper Division" of the Lehigh Canal. Newly constructed rail line then replaced the damaged canal. All along the Lehigh River channel, the canal's ruins silently remind us of a vanished way of life.
Erected by Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Waterways & Vessels.
Location. 40° 54.483′ N, 75° 44.73′ W. Marker is near Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, in Carbon County. Marker can be reached from Lehigh Gorge Trail, 10.1 miles south of Rockport Trailhead, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Jim Thorpe PA 18229, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Pioneer Pipeline (approx. 0.2 miles away); Romance in the Woods (approx. 1.9 miles away); Lehigh Gorge State Park (approx. 1.9 miles away); Exploring The Corridor (approx. 1.9 miles away); James Francis Thorpe (approx. 1.9 miles away); Jim Thorpe (Wa-tho-huck) (approx. 1.9 miles away); a different marker also named James Francis Thorpe (approx. 1.9 miles away); a different marker also named James Francis Thorpe (approx. 1.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Jim Thorpe.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 24, 2022. It was originally submitted on April 24, 2022, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia. This page has been viewed 74 times since then and 20 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on April 24, 2022, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.